When I was 16 years old I left home. My sister was away at college and my mom was in a rough spot in her life. I was in a rough spot in my life. When you are 16 the bad times feel like hell has come home to live where your heart once was.I will leave high school and enroll in community college in Philadelphia. I will get my GED in college and then keep on going. I had it all planned out. I would live in a super fab apartment in Center CIty, have my fab great pro skateboarder friends and I would be living the life.
It didn’t go quite as I planned.
I did have the most ridiculous apartment overlooking the Philadelphia city scape. It was awe-inspiring. We lived on the third floor and had huge bay windows that made you feel that you could see till the end of the earth. I didn’t get my GED, instead I got a job managing a health food store. I went to work at 5 am every morning, snow sleet or hail. I was there, always there. I had all the amazing friends and I lived life to the fullest. Every hour was filled with memories to be made. The nights went on forever and every morning was a new day full of mishaps and adventures to be had.
If you ever visited Philadelphia you know the city has an interesting layout. Posh fancy apartments just one block away from crack row. I could have cared less. I was 16 years old and I was a bad ass to the core. My boyfriend lived on one of the most dangerous streets in Center City, I laughed at that. I would walk down that street by myself, all 5’2 inches of me at 3am and I dare anybody mess with me. I was ten feet tall and ready to rumble.
Where did she go?
I nearly threw up in my seat the first time I had to fly with my kids. I have been flying since I was 5 years old. Back then I could fly by myself, even sit in first class. I had no fears, no worries of the plane crashing, no fearful thoughts that came in and took over.
When you get older decisions become more difficult, more complicated, more powerful. This is at my definition of aging.
I can close my eyes and squeeze my eyelids tight. I can time travel back in time to 1985. I can feel the sand under my feet as we walked along our favorite beach, El Matador in Malibu, California. I can hear my sisters laughter as we discovered the hidden caves and their priceless treasures inside. Pieces of colored glass that were polished down and smooth as silk. Our stepfather Carl used to tell us they were precious gems that came from the Far East. I believed every word. I always believed every word said to me as a child.I would run and jump and play in the blue ocean waters. I would let the waves carry me out as I got tangled up in massive beds of seaweed. I would feel little animals brush past my legs, I would giggle.
30 years later I am in Florida with my kids and I can barely put my feet in the water. I can’t go in, there are sharks there, they will eat me. I see fish swimming around me, the sharks must be close. I have to get my kids out of the water. My fear so great that I momentary become dizzy. I finally get in the water, I swim out pretty far. The whole time I am talking to myself, “It’s okay, you are fine, you don’t want your kids to grow up with fear. You have to do this. You have to at least appear to have courage.”
I heard Oprah interview an immensely popular author, he said the number one thing preventing us from living our fullest lives is fear. At first you think, yeah that’s just some airy fairy stuff, but once I dug deeper I realized not so hippy dippy after all.
I am consumed by fear most days, engulfed in it, wrapped up in it like a newborn baby being swaddled by his mother. Why, Why, Why? I am paralyzed at times by my fear. It follows me around like a shadow creeping around the corner in a dark alley. It isn’t my friend, it tries to tell me its my friend and that it’s here to protect me, but that is bullish-t! I get so enraged at myself for feeling like I am stuck in quicksand, so maddened by my immobilization.
I don’t live well with the unknown. I try to tell myself that all will be ok. I make others tell me the same. Tell me what I want to hear. Tell me that it’s fine and will work out just magnificently in the end. Lie to me so that I feel safe. The minute I know my safety is threatened my fear comes calling my name.
In the spirit of authenticity I will share out loud and with integrity.
I am scared. I am scared of change. I am scared of what will be. I am scared that I am not enough. I am scared that I don’t have the will to overcome the fear.
Are you with me? Are you scared? Do you find yourself strolling down the street in your fear wheelchair to afraid to get up and walk on your own two feet?